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Mark Kingston’s early observations from USC baseball’s first fall scrimmages

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Mark Kingston’s early observations from USC baseball’s first fall scrimmages

Sept. 26, 2018


South Carolina baseball finished off its fourth fall scrimmage on Tuesday, playing eight innings at Founders Park for the Gamecocks’ longest intrasquad game since practice began this September.

Afterward, coach Mark Kingston cautioned that it is too early to definitively say what sort of strengths or weaknesses he thinks USC might have for the 2019 season, but he did note that the balance between pitching and hitting is far more even than it was last fall, when Carolina’s offense was ahead of its defense.

“Nobody dominated. I think the pitchers did a good job of throwing strikes — we had a three-to-one strikeout to walk ratio today, which is pretty good in my time here for our pitchers in an intrasquad game,” Kingston said. “We also had 13, 14 hits today, so I thought it was a pretty even match from that standpoint. I think that’s good. You want your hitters to have good performances, but you also want your pitchers to have good performances.”

From an offensive standpoint, two South Carolina hitters have launched home runs so far at Founders Park — senior outfielder/infielder Jacob Olson and junior Nick Neville. Both, however, are currently sidelined by strained obliques they sustained this fall, injuries that are not major, Kingston said. Joining them on the list of players who have been hurt in the past week is freshman Wes Clarke, who is day-to-day with a knee injury.

“In the fall, you’re not going to push guys to do things and make things worse in the fall. They’ll be fine,” Kingston said.

Kingston, however, was not as optimistic when addressing the status of sophomore pitcher Logan Chapman, who reportedly tore his UCL last week after laboring through two innings in a scrimmage.

“He’ll continue to be evaluated, but it’s looking like it won’t go our way this season,” Kingston said.

Chapman will almost certainly miss the 2019 season, alongside fellow hurler Graham Lawson. Senior pitcher Ridge Chapman has also been shut down for the fall but is expected to return in the spring.

In their place, Kingston said he actually feels better about the team’s pitching depth than he did last season — eight different freshmen or transfers have gotten innings in scrimmages so far.

“We got a lot of guys to look at, there’s no doubt. I think the depth of this staff is a little bigger than last year at this point, so we’ll have a lot of guys fighting to pick (Chapman’s spot) up,” Kingston said. “I don’t think anybody has been dominant yet, but also nobody has looked overwhelmed. It’s right in that middle ground.”

The Gamecocks will have one more scrimmage this week, on Friday, before facing North Carolina State on Saturday under new NCAA rules allowing baseball programs to play two games against other teams in the fall. Kingston said Tuesday that he hopes to play all of his players in that game to give them a taste of real competition, but added that he’s already starting to get a sense of what parts of the 2019 Gamecocks might look like.

”It’s too early to say what kind of team, or what our identity is yet, but we’re seeing enough quality things happen that we should be able to piece some things together,” Kingston said.


Noah Campbell, junior second baseman — 4-12 with a double and walk

Jacob Olson, senior utility player — 4-8 with two doubles and a home run

Andrew Eyster, junior outfielder — 3-12 with a double and walk

Jonah Beamon, freshman second baseman — 3-8 with one walk

Quinntin Perez, junior infielder — 1-6 with a triple, two walks and a HBP

George Callil, junior shortstop — 3-8 with a double, an RBI sacrifice fly and one HBP

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